Advocacy Through Legislation Paper

Advocacy Through Legislation Paper

Advocacy Through Legislation Paper

Policy advocacy is a critical issue for nurses across the care and health continuum. In their paper, Chiu et al. (2021) assert that policy advocacy focuses largely on the responsibilities and accountabilities for nurses in different care settings because of their role as primary care providers in different settings and specialty areas. As policy and patient advocates, nurses interact with lawmakers and policy implementers at different levels of government to ascertain quality care delivery. The opioid crisis remains a core national, state, and even local community issue that impacts millions of Americans and requires effective policies at the federal and state levels to address and mitigate its adverse effects. The purpose of this paper is to discuss advocacy efforts by nurses to mitigate the opioid epidemic and its effects on individuals, the healthcare system, and nurses as well as the community. As a public health concern, the opioid crisis presents significant challenges to nurses because they are the first point of contact between individual patient and the healthcare system. As primary care providers, nurses must be at the forefront in advocating for interventions that will help deal with the issue as a public health concern across the nation.

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The opioid epidemic is a widespread public health concern or emergency that contributes to a rise in emergency room (ER) visits, non-fatal overdoses as well as increased outbreaks of infectious diseases associated with intravenous drug use that burdens the public health system with heavy economic repercussions including death and lost productivity. Studies show that as the drug crisis persists across the nation, communities continue to suffer from the proliferation of prescription and illicit substances while polysubstance dependence exacerbates the present situation. The substances leading to overdose have increased and become disparate as communities they have affected and destroyed also increase. For instance, in 2018 over 67,000 Americans died due to overdose; a figure that contributes to the more than 700,000 causalities recorded since the epidemic began in 1992. Studies show that the rates of overdose have continued to soar with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asserting that overdose death are the leading cause of injury-associated deaths in the country (CDC, 2021). CDC also opines that for each overdose that leads to death, there are many more nonfatal ones, each with its emotional and economic toll on individuals and the healthcare system.

In their article, Truong and Gandhi (2022) assert that the opioid epidemic requires public health solutions and not false narratives about immigrants as exacerbating the problem. The authors observe that the United States and its communities have encountered three distinct waves of increasing opioid death as a result of prescription opioids, heroin, and the synthetic opioids like the fentanyl. The current wave was driven by the illegal production of fentanyl and started in 2013. If not addressed, the issue will continue to affect millions of individuals and families as well as require state and federal governments to allocate more resources to mitigate these negative effects.

Idea for Addressing Solution
Advocacy is the most effective way to address the issue because of its ramification. Nurses as healthcare and patient advocates interact with different stakeholders, key among them legislators at state and federal levels who have the capacity to influence legislation to help deal with the situation. The idea for addressing the issue is to involve legislators at state and federal levels to enact laws through bills brought to their legislatures to provide more stringent procedures and processes on prescription drugs and other aspects like manufacturers’ compliance. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) (2019) asserts that the primary cause of the opioid epidemic revolves around the allowance and trust that were given to drug manufacturing companies, or the Big Pharmaceuticals, to produce pain relieving medications after they assured the public that such strong pain relievers will not be abused or have side effects that may lead to addiction. As such, just the same way they allowed these companies to develop the addiction drugs that led to the current epidemic, the lawmakers have an obligation and ethical responsibility to establish new laws that will address the issue.

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Legislation provides the best course for advocating this issue as it involves many stakeholders and the development of legal instruments to address the problem. Legislators are representatives of the people and make laws based on this mandate (Chiu et al., 2021). Therefore, having this issue go through the legislative process and advocacy will ensure that it takes a bipartisan approach, especially at the federal and state levels, and ensure that better measures and directives are developed to protect the communities.

Research the Issue
Evidence 1 In their editorial, The Lancet Public Health (2022) asserts that the opioid epidemic is among the worst public health issues impacting the US and Canada. The article observes that the crisis has led to over 700,000 deaths and projects that over 1.2 million individuals may die from opioid overdosed by 2029. The editorial notes that the opioid epidemic entails both prescribed and illicit drugs like heroin (Health, 2022). Therefore, having interventions through legislations and enacting laws to address the issue is essential. For instance, having legislation to introduce naloxone as an over the counter drug can help deal with the negative effects of overdoses or the opioid epidemic.
Evidence 2 According to CDC, states have access to a host of promising legal and regulatory strategies to address the prescription drug misuse, use and overdose. The CDC’s Public Health Law Program and other partners have developed briefs that provide a summary of these strategies that states can use to deal with this public health concern within their jurisdictions (CDC, 2019). For instance, the Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States is a program that offers assistance to states to deal with the overdose epidemic. The program offers resources and support required by state health departments to implement and advance interventions to prevent overdoses of these drugs (CDC, 2018).
Stakeholder Support
Stakeholder(s) Supporting 1 Healthcare workers (HCWs) will be the first stakeholders to support this proposed idea. Having a legal framework that provides guidelines and resources to communities and healthcare providers is essential. Legislation at federal and state levels are critical in addressing this issue and ensuring that those affected get resources to deal with it (HHS, 2019). Therefore, as patient advocates and frontline care providers, HCWs will support this idea because of the level of burden that it places on scarce healthcare resources and the need to find a lasting solution to the problem.
Stakeholder(s) Supporting 2 The next level of stakeholders to support the idea would be communities and families with high levels of opioid epidemic and drug overdoses. These stakeholders would support the idea because they bear the brunt and cost of care for their loved ones who suffer from the problem, with some dying while others getting injured (Chiu et al., 2021). Having a long-term solution that makes the Big Pharma responsible for the current epidemic is critical.
Stakeholder (s) Supporting 3 Health advocacy and human rights groups as well as lobbyist will also support this idea because of the negative effects of the opioids on people and the community. They would also support this idea to ensure that companies become accountable for their actions and decisions that led to the current situation.
Stakeholder Opposition
Stakeholder(s) Opposed 1 The Big Pharmaceutical companies may oppose these regulations as they will have to comply with them or face penalties. These companies may also oppose the proposed ideas as it has the potential to impact their overall productivity, performance and reputation in the marketplace. While their considerations are critical, a core component of this debate would be to consider the negative effects of opiates and if they should not consider the moral responsibility that they have in their operations and work ethics.
Stakeholder(s) Opposed 2 Individuals using these drugs and possible drug trafficking syndicates can use lobbyists in Capitol Hill to oppose such legislations. These syndicates may work in collaboration with big pharmaceutical companies to influence the defeat of such bills when they are tabled in state and federal legislatures.
Financial Incentives/Costs
The opioid epidemic is a national burden with negative effects on different facets of American society. The proposed idea is essential in reducing the overall cost burden associated with the current situation. Having a framework that increases compliance by placing stringent measures on drug manufacturing companies and physicians on prescription as well as increasing accessible resources to drug addicts is essential in the fight against the opioid crisis. The current epidemic requires institution of measures that will result in widespread financial benefits, not just for state and federal governments but also for healthcare organizations and providers as well as communities, families and individuals affected by the crisis. A core financial incentive for the proposed idea is a reduction in the cost of care for state and federal government, especially associated with rehabilitation services and need for mental health care during recovery (NCSBN, 2018). The opioid crisis reduces productivity and performance of different entities in the diverse settings. Having the proposed idea will ensure that individuals do not get addicted and can effectively use medications for purposes intended and not meet their addiction needs. The implication is that stakeholders stand to save billions lost each year through the opioid crisis associated with deaths, cost of healthcare burden and reduced levels of productivity and performance in the workplace. Having this idea will incentive states to enact the CDC’s Prevention for States and access billions of federal funds to improve their interventions to address the issue.
 Legislature: Information Needed and Process for Proposal
Provide the name and complete contact information for the legislator.  
Describe the steps for how you would present this to your legislator. The steps would entail having sufficient data and information through research so that I support my proposed idea to address the opioid epidemic, and seeking appointment with the legislator’s office. Upon getting the appointment, I make a presentation to the legislator based on research to consider tabling these proposals as a bill before the legislature. This will imply convincing the legislator to consider the benefits of the proposed idea to the public, especially public health aspects and resources.
Outline the process if your legislator chooses to introduce your idea as a bill to Congress. If the legislator decides to introduce the idea as a bill to Congress, the proposed bill will undergo certain stages and processes before it become law at the federal level. The first stage would entail introduction to Congress in the House or Senate. In this case, it will start in the House because the legislator is a Representative. The bill will be read for the first time by the representative as its main sponsor. The bill will then be assigned to a respective committee to study it and after which if it passes, it comes back for voting, debating or amendments. When it gets a simple majority, the bill moves to the Senate where it is assigned to a respective committee. After its release, the Senate debates and votes on the bill. When the Senate makes changes to the bill, it goes back to the House for alignment. The bill then gets approval by both the House and Senate and goes to the president to veto it or sign it into law.
Christian Principles and Nursing Advocacy
The principles of a Christian worldview are founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the biblical accounts that emphasize the love of God and need to sacrifice for others. Christians believe in the common good of all people irrespective of their diversity and differences. Legislative advocacy seeks the common good for the majority based on ethical aspect of utilitarianism. The opioid epidemic is a serious public health concern that requires effective approaches, including legislative advocacy to help alleviate the problems for millions of Americans in different communities and households battling addiction and associated fatal impacts like death and mental health issues, especially substance use disorder (SUD) (Chiu et al., 2021). In this case, the Christian worldview advances the need to care for all people and make requisite sacrifices to demonstrate and practice God’s love in all areas of care.

These principles advocate for inclusion and positive health outcomes for all people, especially those vulnerable like the poor and individuals from low-income backgrounds. These people may spend a substantial rate of their resources in addressing negative effects of the opioid epidemic. Therefore, having legislative processes and mandates that make different stakeholders more accountable and responsible for the problem is essential and aligns with these principles. The love for one another is beyond apportioning blame but about each carrying their crosses and confessing that their actions have had significant negative effects on millions of individuals and led to demise of innocent people. Such principles implore nurses as patient advocates to seek more participative approaches like involving legislators to craft laws for long-term solution to the issue.


The opioid epidemic presents an effective opportunity for nurses to enhance their advocacy and implore legislators to develop legal frameworks that allow for increased accountability and responsibility by different players in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. This paper illustrates the need for increased legal frameworks that focus on mitigation, prevention and dealing with the overall issue of opioids in communities across the nation. Having a legislative process would be critical to developing better interventions to reduce the prevalence of the issue to diverse patient populations.


American Nurses Association (ANA) (2022). Opioid Epidemic. American Nurses Association

Opioid Epidemic

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2020 February 14). Understanding Drug Overdoses and Deaths. Centers for

            Diseases Control and Prevention.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2018). Prevention for States. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2019). State Prescription Drug Laws. Centers for Diseases Control and


Chiu, P., Cummings, G. G., Thorne, S., & Schick-Makaroff, K. (2021). Policy advocacy and nursing organizations: A scoping review.

            Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice, 22(4), 276-296. DOI: 10.1177/15271544211050611

HHS.GOV/OPIOIDS (2021). What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic?

Health, T. L. P. (2022). Opioid overdose crisis: time for a radical rethink. The Lancet. Public health, 7(3), e195.


National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), Inc. (2018). Legislation Addressing Opioid Epidemic Becomes Law. National

            Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), Inc.


Truong, T. Q. & Gandhi, D. (2022 October 31). The Opioid Epidemic Demands Public Health Solutions, Not False Claims About

Immigration. American Progress Organization.

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Nurses often become motivated to change aspects within the larger health care system based on their real-world experience. As such, many nurses take on an advocacy role to influence a change in regulations, policies, and laws that govern the larger health care system.

For this assignment, identify a problem or concern in your state, community, or organization that has the capacity for advocacy through legislation. Research the issue and use the "Advocacy Through Legislation" template, attached, to complete this assignment.

You are required to cite a minimum of three sources to complete this assignment. Sources must be published within the last 5 years, appropriate for the assignment criteria, and relevant to nursing practice.

While APA style is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and documentation of sources should be presented using APA formatting guidelines, which can be found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. A link to the LopesWrite technical support articles is located in Class Resources if you need assistance.


Rubric Criteria

Problem, Those Affected, Current Ramifications, and Consequences if Problem Continues
23.25 points

Idea for Addressing Solution
15.5 points

Research Supporting Solution for Problem
23.25 points

Stakeholder Support
15.5 points

Stakeholder Opposition
15.5 points

Financial Incentives and Costs
15.5 points

Legislature Process and Information for Proposal
15.5 points

Christian Principles and Nursing Advocacy
15.5 points

7.75 points

Mechanics of Writing
3.1 points

Documentation of Sources

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